Counting a cyclotron before it hatches
A $4.6 million line item that would provide funds for the University at Buffalo to buy a new piece of medical research equipment is currently sitting in a Congressional bill. Despite the fact the bill has yet to come to a vote, UB officials are already using the promise of the money as a promotional tool.
Less than a week from Election Day, UB officials and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter called a press conference to announce the pending federal funds for a cyclotron they expect to be installed next summer.
That is, if an appropriations bill that contains the money passes after the election.
UB’s Vice President for Health Sciences David Dunn says the congresswoman and UB officials felt it wasn’t too early to celebrate the cyclotron despite the fact Congress hasn’t approved it.
“I think they’re close to 100 percent. It’s pretty unusual that something like this an initiative like this allocation makes it this far and all of a sudden falls off the wagon. We’re quite confident because Congresswoman Slaughter is confident that we can move this ahead,” Dunn said.
Dunn says a cyclotron will enhance UB’s ability to participate in medical studies.
“Essentially you spin molecules that have atoms in them at a very high rate but they’re going around in a circle. But then you bombard them with other particles and essentially you get a different type of that atom,” Dunn said. “If you inject a normal atom, you don’t really have a way of detecting it. But as the decay occurs back from the bombarded atom to a normal atom it emits particles you can detect.”
Dunn says the cyclotron will also be used as a recruitment tool for students, faculty and grant funding.
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